Russia wins gas pipeline battle says Polish presidential spokesman

2021-07-22 14:48 update: 2021-07-23, 13:55
 Błażej Spychalski Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka
Błażej Spychalski Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka
Russia has won the battle over the construction of the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) Russia-Germany gas pipeline, a Polish presidential spokesman has said after the US and Germany signed an agreement on the controversial project.

On Wednesday, Washington and Berlin agreed to end a long-standing dispute over NS2 under which the United States agreed to lift its sanctions on companies involved in the project. In exchange, Germany pledged to invest in Ukrainian projects and to impose sanctions on Russia should Moscow adopt a hostile policy.

But the project has been bitterly opposed by Central and Eastern European countries. They argue the pipeline, which bypasses their region, could be used by the Kremlin to exert pressure on the EU's eastern members and Ukraine.

"Today Russia has practically won in the construction of this pipeline," Blazej Spychalski told Polish public Radio Three on Thursday. "Thanks to this infrastructure, Russia will gain significant influence on the European gas market, but first of all it will be making money on it."

The NS2 is the second line of the already existing Nord Stream pipeline that goes from Russia along the Baltic seabed to Germany. Before the pipeline was built, Russia was forced to make agreements with Ukraine when sending gas to Western Europe.

Polish and Ukrainian foreign ministers, Zbigniew Rau and Dmytro Kuleba, in a joint statement issued on Wednesday, called upon the US and Germany to find an adequate response to what they see as an emerging security crisis in Central and Eastern Europe, with Russia as the main beneficiary of the latest development.

Spychalski reiterated Poland's claim that "through Nord Stream 2, Germany is breaking European solidarity in the area of joint energy policy."

Germany insists that the NS2 is not a political project, but a business one.

The Nord Stream's two lines, each stretching 1,200 kilometres, will be able to pump 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Russia to Germany every year. (PAP)